With likes of Varane, Zouma and Mathieu injured, the defence is relying on the services of Koscielny and Rami.
The enforced absence of Karim Benzema, deemed persona for his alleged role in the “sex-tape” scandal, and several other absentees forces Deschamps to do what he likes to do – put faith in the youth especially in the front-line. The likes of Anthony Martial, Antonio Griezmann, Coman and Payet are likely to feature in that front-line during the competition along with Giroud or Gignac as the centre-forward.
France have mainly relied on a fluid 4-3-3 formation for the last year and a half, they are unlikely to revert to 4-4-2 diamond or 4-2-3-1 just because they have the personnel to conquer big things with that fluid 4-3-3 formation. Deschamps tried reverting but his team played very ordinarily in that shape.
They have the most dynamic and fluid midfield in Europe without a doubt, likes of Pogba, Matuidi, N’Golo Kante and Diarra form one of the most deadliest combinations in the middle of the park. Addition of pace in the flanks and a physical centre-forward makes a team look apart from others.
Griezmann, Martial and Coman will inject needed pace and directness in the forward play, Giroud will be helpful in adding the physical strength in which the French may lack a bit. If you see this way, the hosts are looking in Euro this time and adding home support to it, they are a certain front-runners to become the Europe’s best this time around.
Having said all that, Deschamps’ problem lie on the defensive part of things, injuries to key defenders forces the manager to play his secondary choice centre-back alongside regular starter Koscielny. Rami or Mangala are likely replacements to cover up for the absence of some key defenders. Evra and Sagna are the options for fullback positions, the thing to notice is they both are well over 30s and are still first choice players, just shows the lack of options in the back-line for Deschamps.
Let’s take a look at how France could lineup through the tactics board :-
As we see in the image, the probable shape of the French team come the Euros. Kante is expected to start and continue his rich vein of form, he’s fresh from guiding Leicester City to a surprise Premier League title. His ability to add dynamism to the midfield by accurate tackles and fast-paced counters makes him one of the best in the business. His ball retention percentage is right up there, sitting in-front of the back four and controlling the game from is something remarkable.
Kante’s midfield partners are most likely to be Pogba and Matuidi, both have different attributes to their games, Pogba a more physical and more creative of all the midfielders in the team, the Juventus man can take on defenders but his ability to pick out long passes and cut the opposition defence with threading passes makes him one to look out for this time around. Matuidi, on the other hand has pace and directness in his armoury, he can add pace on that left wing which will allow Martial/Coman to tuck inside more and add themselves as a target for crossers.
Griezmann will be playing from that right wing area cutting inside with the left foot of his, he will be well supported by the creativeness of Pogba in that side, Sagna will provide overlaps for the Atletico forward to sandwich himself in between the centre-back and fullback.
All in all, a decent team with one of the most prolific midfield combination and pacy attack. The problem lies a bit in defence, France have scored 9 goals in the build-up to this tournament in the friendlies, but in the process they have conceded 6 goals which certainly highlights how much Deschamps and his men will struggle if they don’t striker the right balance in the attack.
A young team with good pace and dynamism, but may struggle when it comes to business end of the tournament, backing the hosts to go the semi-finals is obvious but as far as I’m concerned, France will not go beyond the last-4 stage.
By Mizgan Ahmed on 7th June, 2016
Twitter – @mizgans